Trumbull – Dear Sons of a H.F. Father (2)- News From Marian and Dan – 8.20.1944

Marian (Irwin) Guion

Page 2    8/20/44

And Marian the Faithful writes again, still from Pomona: “Yes, here we are again, still sitting in Pomona wondering what we are going to do next.  Evidently there was too much publicity regarding the current move of the 142nd  Bn.  (Practically everyone in Pomona knew about it) or maybe they were unable to get a troop train, or maybe just because.  Anyway, we haven’t gone yet although we are practically completely packed and have gotten our gas coupons.  But I refuse to unpack our things again, so as long as my last box of soap flakes holds out we are all right.  Lad’s suntans are receiving the best treatment of their lives — washed by hand and in Lux, no less, for we are skeptical about sending them to the cleaners or the laundry for fear that we will move out suddenly and we won’t have anything to wear.  Such a life!  But we don’t mind.  The longer they keep us here the better we will like it.  We don’t dare get too optimistic, but the war news seems to be getting so much better that a week or even three or four days means an awful lot in the way of new developments.  Lad and I had a holiday yesterday (8/13).  With another couple we spent the day at Lake Arrowhead, one of the most scenic spots in Southern California.  The lake itself is at an elevation of 5,125 ft., and is situated in a lovely forest.  We spent a couple of hours out on the lake in a sailboat and had a perfectly glorious time.  All three of us were land lubbers from way back, Lad was the skipper and had to do most of the work.  But he didn’t seem to mind and in spite of the fact we all came home with sunburns, it was well worth it.”

And last, the enclosed “report from a Normandy camp” from our own private War Correspondent, beggars description.  It speaks for itself and I am sure you will be as interested in it as have all those here who have had the opportunity to read it.

Daniel Beck Guion

He also enclosed some samples of the new invasion French money we have heard so much about, as well as a sheet of “Vagrant Impressions of London: “Arriving at the outskirts — looking for signs of bombed out houses and finding very few — feeling much closer to the war, reminded by the pudgy barrage balloons, high sentinels facing steadfastly into the wind — “Jerry” only a few air minutes away.  Marching to our quarters, heavy packs on our backs — marching along narrow streets, curious looks exchanged between newly arrived soldiers and passing Britishers — a milk-woman pushing her hand card laden with squat milk bottles, four shelves deep — an old lady shuffling along the sidewalk, saliva-stained cigarette drooping from ancient lips — big red two-deck buses, garish with advertisements, rumbling past on the wrong side of the street — neat hedges rising so high before the compact little front yards that only a glimpse of the tiled vestibule can be seen through the iron-grilled gate.  Shops of modest demeanor, tobacconist’s, chemist’s, ironmonger’s, Tea Shops, Taverns (The Rose and Crown; Coach and Horses; The Kings Arms; The Hope and Anchor; The Three Pigeons; The Star and Garter).”

   Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

How tame and hum drum in comparison seem the homely everyday things which we at home have to write about.  It almost makes one wonder that we have the temerity to even mention our prosaic goings and comings and yet I suppose the very fact that they come from the old familiar place we call “home” lends a sort of enchanted coloring not so much to what is said as to the answering visions they call up in your own minds — at least that is the hope of ye scribe.  At least what you all know is real is the love and affection that dwells here for you no matter how weak the transmission may be.

DAD

Tomorrow, I will post the first part of a description of the area around San Jose written by John Jackson Lewis to the folks back home.

On Sunday, the last (perhaps) entry for My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion. I hope to bring us from the move to California and a little about Lad and Marian’s life north of San Francisco.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of the children’s early memories of Trumbull.

Judy Guion

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Army Life – Dear Dad – Marian Writes to Dad – Still in Pomona – August 14, 1944

 

Lad and Marian in Pamona

           Lad and Marian in Pamona

Monday

8/14/44

Dear Dad –

Yes – Here we are again. Still sitting in Pomona wondering what we’re going to do next. Evidentially there was too much publicity regarding the current move of the 142nd Battalion (practically everyone in Pomona knew about it!) – or maybe they were unable to get a troop train – or maybe just because. Anyway, we haven’t gone yet, although we are practically completely packed, and have gotten our gas coupons. But I refuse to unpack our things again, so as long as my last box of soap flakes holds out, we are all right. Lad’s sun-tans are receiving the best treatment of their lives – washed by hand, and in Lux, no less, but we are skeptical about sending them to the cleaners or the laundry for fear that we will move out suddenly and he won’t have anything to wear. Such a life! But we don’t mind – the longer they keep us here the better we will like it. We don’t dare get too optimistic, but the war news seems to be getting so much better that a week or even three or four days means an awful lot in the way of new developments.

Lad and I had a holiday yesterday. With another couple here at Pomona, we spent the day at Lake Arrowhead, one of the most scenic spots of Southern California. The Lake itself is at an elevation of 5125 feet, and is situated in a lovely forest. We spent a couple of hours out on the lake in a sailboat and had a perfectly glorious time. As three of us were land-lubbers from way back, Lad was the Skipper, and had to do most of the work. But he didn’t seem to mind, and in spite of the fact that we all came home with glorious sunburns, it was well worth it.

Thanks for enclosing those clippings of Ernie Pyle’s on the Ordnance Department, Dad. They were most interesting and reassuring – Lad has always said he wouldn’t be up at the front lines, if he did go across, but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that he won’t be sent over, at least until they’ve stopped fighting over there. Is that too selfish of me? I know it would be a wonderful experience for him, but…..  !!!!

Who knows where our next letter will be mailed, but we’ll keep you posted.

All our love,

Marian

P.S. This page is supposed to be for Lad to add a word or two, but he seems to be quite busy now, working on our cameras. He says to tell you that he hasn’t forgotten you, and one of these days he’ll get around to writing you a letter – until then, he sends all of you his love.

M –

This Change of Address was sent to Grandpa. It is dated August 16th, sent August 19th, 1944. Lad’s new address is in Flora, Mississippi.

 

During the rest of the week, a letter from Rusty Huerlin to Ced, and a letter from Grandpa to his sons.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – The Book of the Week (1) – The Great Record Mystery – October 10, 1943

In this weeks letter, Grandpa announces Lad’s engagement to Marian to the brothers who are so far from home. 

Lad and Marian in Pomona, CA

Lad and Marian at Pamona, CA

October 10, 1943

THE BOOK OF THE WEEK

Being Trumbull’s Refuse of Refuse

Translated from the original by A. D. Guion

CHRISTMAS BOXES:      How much moral fortitude have the boys in the service? Can the Trumbull contingent resist temptation? Have the Guion draftees willpower strong enough so that they can delay opening their Christmas boxes, being sent sometime during the coming week, until December 25th, no matter how much before that date said box arrives? These are the questions that the inmates of BABBLING BROOK are asking themselves, instead of the outmoded question: “Is there a Santa Claus?” Time alone will afford the answer. To be sure, the contents of the boxes are nothing to write home about (which, following the usual custom, you will not do). We have tried to inject a little local color in the shape of certain products found locally on trees in the vicinity, while daughter-in-law Jean, has, with loving care, prepared a few toothsome bits on which you may contentedly munch (this is not a cow product add).

THE GREAT RECORD MYSTERY:     For some weeks Read’s have been advertising how thrilling it would be for “your boy or girl in the service” to receive a Christmas greeting in your own voice, and to this end they set up a recording service where, under competent supervision, one could go to their store and speak your little piece on both sides of a metal photograph record which could then be sent in one’s overseas Christmas box. Yesterday (Saturday) Howland’s announced a similar service and on my way to deliver the Liggett’s menus, I stopped in and made my little speech three times on records to go to Dan, Dick and Lad. After completing my creation the operator told me I could also use the other side of the record and rather than extemporized on the spur of the moment, I told him I would come back later after giving a bit of thought to what I wanted to say. I did so and was greeted with the sad news that orders had just come through from the War Department to the effect that such service had to be discontinued and that no records made would be allowed to be sent. Read’s had already made some 400 recordings. The only one they would allow to be sent was the one to Lad, as he was not overseas. I don’t see the sense of the ruling any more than I do some of the other queer edicts that issue from New Dealers in Washington, but there is nothing much to do about it, so that idea is bust.

Editor’s Note: I have the recording that was sent to Lad (and have put it onto a CD) and it is wonderful to hear Grandpa’s voice talking to his sons, even though only one got the message.

THIS WEEK’S FEATURE STORY:     (replacing the usual column “Advice to the Lovelorn”). So as not to spring this startling news to suddenly on our indulgent readers, mention is made that under a Stratford dateline last week the Bridgeport Post ran an item captioned “Laddie Ignores War Department”! Be that as it may, the only letter received from any of the absentees last week was one from California announcing the engagement of one Sgt. Guion to Miss Marian Irwin, or to put it in his own words: (oh, damn, I just recall having left the letter in the office). But anyway, he mentioned having been hit quite hard and when he had time to get his breath he promised to send more details. SO, you Dan and Ced, look out for Cupid! Who knows but that he has two arrows left in his quiver tagged with your names! Come on, now, who will be the next? Remember I have, for a number of years, had only one daughter and five sons and the sooner I acquire more daughters by proxy, the better, so step right up, gentlemen, and place your bets.

Tomorrow I will finish off the week with the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Alumni of Trumbull University (1) – Spineless Jelly Fish – October 3, 1943

 

Trumbull, Conn., Oct. 3, 1943

Dear Alumni of Trumbull University:

Greetings from your Alma  Mater, the entire faculty, and the balance of the student body which has dwindled considerably since you occupied the various dormitories, and in sooth bodes well to be still further depleted in view of the fact that Young David completed his 18th semester recently and immediately hied him over to ye old Towne Halle where Clerk H. Plumb duly registered him with Uncle Sam. Rumor has it that before the dawn of another New Year’s Day, he too will be in the armed services of the United States. Of course I have hopes that by the time he is actually inducted and through training the bloody part of the war will be on the way out, although I am also conscious of the fact that, if present rumors become fact, honorable discharges will be issued first to those who have served longest, have families, are incapacitated or are more essential in peace-time activities, leaving the opposite numbers to continue on for policing work in occupied countries, etc., So that, speaking personally, the Guion Co. may be deprived of its principal employee for some time to come. Anyhoo, will hope for a class reunion in the not very distant future, with the flag flying from the top of the pole. We are certainly having some good “old Glory” news reports lately. For instance, recent headlines in the Bridgeport paper, “White Russian Cities Blasted by Red Pilots Makes Nazis Blue”.

The political pot is beginning to boil hereabouts. McLevy is of course again a candidate for mayor of Bridgeport. To oppose him on the Republican ticket is the proprietor of Slim’s Diner. Ferguson is up again for First Selectman of Fairfield but the Republican ranks in his town are wide open, his own Town Committee opposing him, and asking electors to vote for the Democratic nominee. At that, however, things are mild compared to what they will be next year when the national election is held, and while on the subject, you may as well have my opinion for what it may be worth on what it is all about, so that when you are asked to cast your ballot you may know how at least one elector feels about matters. The question is not Republican vs Democrat, not Roosevelt vs Wilkie, or what have you, not liberals vs conservatives, not new deal vs good deal, not capital vs labor, not isolationist vs interventionist, but rather Federal Government planning of our daily lives from cradle to grave, which the present administration in Washington stands for, vs the good old American way of life based on being on one’s own and depending on individual resourcefulness in making ends meet and thus calling out the best in us to meet conditions when the job seems impossible – – the spirit epitomized by the saying: “the difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a bit longer”. The New Deal provisions for old age dependency, no job, WPA leaf-raking jobs, sick benefits, while all very alluring in providing freedom from fear, is ennervating, laziness-breeding and is more apt to develop a nation of spineless jelly dish. There is something to be said for “coming up the hard way”. Someday the war will end and we will have to pick ourselves up and go on our interrupted way. If we cut out all these present artificial restraints and rely on our own resourcefulness which we are showing we can do, we will have come through the fire like a finely tempered blade, but I don’t think we can do this under the Roosevelt theory of government. There you have what to my mind is the main issue – – mollycoddlers vs moulders of our own destiny. That is the way we have grown during our short history and I don’t want to live to see the day when the paternalism at Washington will shield us from all harm and guide us from cradle to grave and do our thinking and planning for us. We are not members of a governmental harem.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter, and I’ll finish off the week with another letter from Grandpa to Lad and one to all the boys (except Dave, who is still home, but has registered with Uncle Sam).

Judy Guion 

My Ancestors (33h) – Alfred P Guion – Marriage and World War II (3) – Lad to France and Marian to Trumbull

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

 

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Nov. 1944 – shipped over

Marian drove the Buick with the trailer in tow from Jackson, Mississippi, to Trumbull, Connecticut, where she planned to live with Grandpa, get a job and wait for Lad’s return.  We know Marian was still in Jackson on November 1st and grandpas letter of November 12th tells us she is in Trumbull.

“Yesterday was not only Armistice Day but also Marian’s birthday, and following the usual custom, we celebrated it today.  Elizabeth, who came to dinner with her two boys, was able to get through her butcher a nice ham, quite a rarity these days, and that with some of Burrough’s cider of sainted memory, baked sweet potatoes, cauliflower, topped off with Guion’s celebrated prune whip, was followed with the opening of gifts amid the soft glow of candlelight — in the dining room of course.  Lad had sent me a bottle of Marian’s favorite perfume earlier in the week and this happened to be the last gift she opened which topped off things with an unexpectedly pleasant surprise for her.

Yesterday Lad wrote from “somewhere in the United States”, and was unable to give the slightest inkling of what is planned, but at least it is clear he did not sail Tuesday…”

Excerpt from Grandpa’s letter written November 19, 1944:

“From a significant lack of any definite word from Lad, we are all pretty sure he is now on the high seas or has already arrived at his destination, whatever that may be….. We are pretty sure he will go to the European sector rather than the Pacific, but even that is merely conjecture and a rationalization from what few facts we have.”

Excerpt from Grandpas letter written November 26, 1944:

”It was a real Thanksgiving week for us here in the main as far as letters from you boys were concerned.  Lad was the only one we did not hear from and that wasn’t his fault.  From “somewhere in France” the following very welcome message arrived: “Roughing it again!  A good excuse to write a letter!  I am sitting on an Army cot in an abandoned Nazi barracks, somewhere in France.  The pale light of a kerosene lamp acts as a monitor to my flailing pencil.  In the corner, a wood stove adds its pungency to the heavy odor of kerosene fumes, while a group of the boys are playing cribbage on an improvised table in the center of the room.  On the door Jerry has left “Conchita”,a  hard looking  Spanish beauty, smoking a cigarette and staring impersonally toward the doorknob.  Standing beside the stove is a burlap sack, plump with coke which we found near an abandoned gun site.  It will keep the chill from our slumber about 2 o’clock in the morning.  After I have such finished writing this letter I shall pay a visit to the café half a kilometer down the road.  We shall sit in the kitchen talking to the proprietress whose husband is a prisoner of the Germans.  We shall sip a glass of rather innocuous beer and lament the departure of more exciting spirits which accompanied Jerry back to Germany.”

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Langres, France:  6 months – operator – 1000 kva Diesel-Electric power plant.

Marseilles, France: 10 weeks –

While Lad’s Batallion was in Marseilles, he was able to obtain a weekend pass to Paris.  His brother Dan was getting married in Calais, sixty miles north of Paris.  Lad had been told that he was not allowed to go further north than Paris.  He took a train to Paris, left his duffel bag in a room at the hospitality center, slipped a comb and toothbrush in his pocket and headed north.  Very quickly he discovered the local train had too many stops and was moving much slower than regular street traffic, so he got off the train and started to hitchhike.  A British soldier on a motorcycle stopped and asked where he was going.  When Lad told him Calais the soldier said he would take him and actually dropped him off in front of the pharmacy that Paulette’s father owned.  Lad spent a long weekend getting reacquainted with his brother and getting to know his new sister-in-law and her family.  There is actually quite a bit more to this story but that will unfold in my regular blog posts.

From Life history of Alfred  P. Guion:

Aug., 1945 – returned to U.S.

Trumbull, Conn., – 7 weeks – recuperation furlough

Aberdeen,Md., – 7 weeks – waiting for discharge orders.

Fort Meade, Md. – 3 days – DISCHARGE

Next Sunday I will attempt to give a very condensed version of Lad and Marian’s married life in Trumbull, including the birth of their children.  Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1943 when all 5 sons are serving Uncle Sam in one way or another.  Judy Guion

My Ancestors (33g)- Alfred Peabody Guion – Marriage and World War II (2)

(1) Alfred Peabody Guion; (2) Judith Anne Guion.

Lad and Marian in the Irwin’s back yard, 1944

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa from Marian, written on a Monday, with a note in Grandpa’s writing: Pomona, Calif 7/10/44:

“Wish I could report some definite plans that the “Roving Guions” have made, but so far everything is still very much up in the air.  We might be here 2 days, 2 weeks or even 2 months – we just don’t know.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on Monday (Grandpa’s handwriting: Post marked 8/7/44.)

“I know that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while” the Army would change our minds for us….. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Marian on Monday, 8/14/44:

“Yes – Here we are again.  Still sitting in Pomona wondering what we’re going to do next.  Evidently there was too much publicity regarding the current move of the 142nd Battalion (practically everyone in Pomona knew about it!)  Or maybe they were unable to get a troop train – or maybe just because.  Anyway, we haven’t gone yet, altho’ we are practically completely packed, and have gotten our gas coupons.”

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS, dated August 16, 1944, with an address for Flora, Mississippi.

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa from Marian, written Saturday night from Wakeeny, Kansas (Grandpa wrote 8/28/44):

“Something tells me that this letter should be a clever epistle, containing references to cross-country pioneering etc. etc., but I’m afraid I don’t have the time or energy to think of something suitable.  But I do want you to know that so far we have had a pretty good trip, we are making good time, the car and trailer are holding together, and that I am getting nearer and nearer to Jackson, Miss.  (Hallelujah !!!!  It can’t be too soon for me)”

From Life history of Alfred  P.  Guion:

Flora, Miss. – 9 weeks – Instructor, Automotive electricity;

1 week – designing plan for overseas base shop

Excerpt from a letter to Grandpa written on a Wednesday (Grandpa’s note: Jackson, 9/14/44):

“We’ve moved again, but not out of Jackson.  Our new “home” is very much nicer than the 1st 1, and we have kitchen privileges, so we don’t have to eat out.  And from what we’ve sampled of Southern cooking, we are just as glad!  Somewhere along the way I’ve been sadly misinformed about Southern cooking.  (That’s not the only a dissolution – I imagined sitting on a porch, sipping mint juleps and sniffing magnolias and honeysuckle! something is definitely wrong! Mississippi is as dry as can be, and beer is a poor substitute for a mint juleps!”

Excerpt from a letter Marian has written to Ced on it Tuesday, ( I checked the calendar and believe it was written October 2, 1944):

“We had a very pleasant weekend this last week.  (Sounds peculiar, but you know what I mean!)  After various telegrams 2 and fro, we finally made connections and were able to spend most of the weekend in Little Rock, Ark., with Dave.  He had gotten a 3-day pass from Camp Crowder, and lad had gotten a weekend pass, so as Little Rock was practically the middle point from Camp to Camp, we drove up and Dave came down on the bus……  – Now I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the 3 of the Guion boys two more to go.”

Excerpt from a letter from Marian to Grandpa on a Thursday (Grandpa wrote Jackson, 10/26/44):

“The Battalion has been issued new clothes, and they have been given until Nov. 1st to dispose of their cars, but it seems to me we went through this routine once before at Pomona, and look how long it took us to get out of there!  Nevertheless, we are re–arranging and packing as much as we can, so that I can leave here on a moments notice.  We haven’t the slightest idea which P.O.E. the fellows will be sent to, but in case it is New York, or its vicinity, I’d like to be around there as quickly as I can get there, in case Lad has a chance to get away for even a few hours.”

WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM to Grandpa dated Oct. 31, 44:

HOLD CHECK FOR MARIAN CAN YOU WIRE $35.00 IMMEDIATELY TO MARIAN I GUION 303 LONGINO JACKSON MISS FOR TRIP TO TRUMBULL DEPARTURE THIRD.

LAD MARIAN

Excerpt from another letter to Grandpa from Marian on a Wednesday (grandpa writes Jackson,11/1):

“All the wives are supposed to have gone home, and no more private cars on the post.  But lad took the car today, anyway.  He’s going to park it outside the gate, so that I can pick it up if he gets restricted……  Just to be on the safe side however, we packed the trailer last night, so that it will only take me a few minutes to put the last minute things into the car and be on my way home.

Incidentally, Dad, I’m really looking forward to living there at Trumbull.  It seems to me to be the best place of all, other than actually being with Lad, and think of the extra nice company I’ll have…..

I’m leaving here tomorrow or Friday, at the very latest.  When Lad comes home tonight, he’ll know a little more about their coming restriction, I think, so that he’ll have an idea whether or not he will be able to get home tomorrow night.  If he can all stay until Friday, but I’m pretty certain I’ll leave then.  So if everything goes according to schedule, I should be home sometime Sunday, probably late in the evening.”

Note added to the end of this letter by Lad:

“Marion is a wonderful girl, Dad, so please take care of her for me.  My happiness, and practically my life, is wrapped up in her.  I know you will, tho’, even without my asking.”

From Life history of Alfred P.  Guion:

Nov, 1944 – shipped over

 

Trumbull – Dear Sheiks (3) – News From Dave – August 13, 1944

This is the next section of a letter written by Grandpa to the boys away from home.

From Dave:

Next Saturday – – the 12th – – we will all move from this company over to some company in the 34th Battalion. And then on Monday we will go out to the field for our final phase of training. CPX (command post exercises) is a sort of small scale maneuvers. The boys in cook school go out there and cook for us. Signal center clerks run signal centers. Radio boys completing their course run radios. Field linemen set out and maintain their wires. Poll linemen do likewise. The same is true for the teletype operators, motor mechanics, chauffeurs, truck drivers, engineers and anyone else I might not have mentioned. This final phase of training is three weeks long – – three weeks of Missouri woods, ticks, chiggers, rattlers and various other species that don’t hold too much interest in my mind, but I think it will be fun and anything would be better than school. You see, after I got back here from my furlough, although I still liked signal center clerk, I felt as though I knew all that they had to teach me in school (conceited) and I still feel that this last four weeks has been a waste of time. After CPX – – who knows? All I can do is to make a few wild guesses which would be based upon nothing but the Army’s ceaseless rumors – – which are more prevalent than ever before right now. The most likely thing that will happen is that they ship us out of here to a port of embarkation (maybe Reynolds in Pennsylvania, but more likely Beal in California) where we will be prepared to get on a boat and “see the world through the carbine gun sites”. If this is the case I may get a delay–en-route, and I may not – – who can tell? The other night I was on guard duty when a sergeant came out of his barracks with another man and called me over to him. He told me he had seen this man come into his barracks and pick up the sergeants pants. We questioned the fellow and he told us that he had moved into the company that morning and as he wasn’t thinking, due to the fact that he had had a few drinks in Neecho — he got in the wrong barracks. His story was very impressive and the Sgt. told me to let him go. The culprit left and I once again started walking my post. On an impulse, as I passed the barracks where the accused claimed to actually live, I decided to take a peek in to see if he were in bed. I went in to see and much to my dismay found that he wasn’t in there. I went back and told the Sgt. about it and then when I got to the guardhouse I told the Corporal of the Guard about it. The next day I found out that he was a crook and doing pretty well in the business throughout the whole post. For the offense which I committed (not turning him in) they could have court-martialed me – – not a pretty thought. As yet the culprit has not been located again.”

This sort of thing seems to be rather prevalent in this man’s Army. When I visited Lad in Aberdeen they had just had an incident of the same sort; and both Lad and Dick have lost valuable personal belongings. They should have a Sherlock Holmes detachment connected with each battalion.

Tomorrow, the final portion of this letter.

Judy Guion